Krugman Ain’t Feeling the Bern (Updated)

Paul Krugman kinda sounds like many commenters on this here blog on the topic of transformational rhetoric vs realpolitik in today’s NYT column. Like all Krugman columns, it’s worth reading in full, but here’s excerpt:

[O]n the left there is always a contingent of idealistic voters eager to believe that a sufficiently high-minded leader can conjure up the better angels of America’s nature and persuade the broad public to support a radical overhaul of our institutions. In 2008 that contingent rallied behind Mr. Obama; now they’re backing Mr. Sanders…

But as Mr. Obama himself found out as soon as he took office, transformational rhetoric isn’t how change happens. That’s not to say that he’s a failure. On the contrary, he’s been an extremely consequential president, doing more to advance the progressive agenda than anyone since L.B.J….

Yet his achievements have depended at every stage on accepting half loaves as being better than none: health reform that leaves the system largely private, financial reform that seriously restricts Wall Street’s abuses without fully breaking its power, higher taxes on the rich but no full-scale assault on inequality.

There’s a sort of mini-dispute among Democrats over who can claim to be Mr. Obama’s true heir — Mr. Sanders or Mrs. Clinton? But the answer is obvious: Mr. Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs. Clinton is the heir to President Obama. (In fact, the health reform we got was basically her proposal, not his.)

Krugman closes by reminding readers not to “let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence,” which is sound advice. But I’m not sure his assessment is fair to former candidate Obama or current candidate Sanders, both senators and intelligent men who surely have/had some inkling of what they would face when trying to implement their agendas as president.

Maybe it’s more about what’s appropriate for the times. A couple of days ago in the “Town Hall” thread, valued commenter MomSense posited a theory of why a transformational campaign might be wrong for this particular election:

Part of the problem for Sanders this election is that this year isn’t a change election on the Dems side. The polls say 80-87% of Dems depending on demographics approve of the job the president is doing and think we are going in the right direction… It’s the flip side of the problem Clinton had in 2008… Her 2008 election was far too status quo than the mood of the Democratic base. 2016 is a guard the change and expand on reform election for the Democratic base. I just don’t think there is an appetite among the Democratic base to risk what we’ve gained on unrealistic promises of revolution.

The part about “change” vs. “guard-the-change” elections sounds about right to me. It’s not that Sanders is wrong to be aspirational about addressing wealth inequality, etc., now — even with the knowledge that Republicans will obstruct him at every turn — any more than it was wrong for then-candidate Obama to run on breaking down partisan divides and then paring down his goals and adjusting his strategy to accommodate GOP recalcitrance when he became president. But it may be that there’s too little demand for a revolution right now, at least among Democrats. We’ll see.

ETA: There’s a site maintenance thread downstairs to report bugs and comments about the design update.






208 replies
  1. 1
    redshirt says:

    I just want a not-Republican to win. It could be Alfred E. Newman for all I care at this point.

    Priority number one: Defeat the Republicans.

  2. 2
    japa21 says:

    What I find interesting about the current Krugman is that back in 2009 and 2010 he was on the side of those yelling at Obama for not doing enough. It took him 4-5 years to realize that Obama did pretty well to get what he did get.

    Krugman has come to understand that idealistic policy is fine, but can only go so far before it runs head on to political reality.

    There are still many on the left, including some here, that haven’t learned that lesson yet.

  3. 3
    FarmerG says:

    There’s a demand here

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Krugman closes by reminding readers not to “let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence,” which is sound advice.

    If, however, destructive self-indulgence is your thing, vote Baud! in 2016!

  5. 5

    I am with Krugthulu, not feeling the Bern. Bernie sounds like my lovable but slightly cranky macro prof, who is also originally from NYC.

  6. 6
    Trentrunner says:

    David Brock and Cornel West cancel each other out. (They’re both dried vomitus encrusting the body politic.)

    Hillary by a nose.

  7. 7
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    There’s a sort of mini-dispute among Democrats over who can claim to be Mr. Obama’s true heir — Mr. Sanders or Mrs. Clinton? But the answer is obvious: Mr. Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs. Clinton is the heir to President Obama.

    A very astute observation…

  8. 8
    Germy says:

    I just don’t want any of the GOP candidates to win. I’d vote for my cat if she got the democratic nomination.

    If she won, I can just see her first SOTU: She licks herself for a half hour and then curls up to sleep. “You lie!” one of the Republicans yell at her. She looks up, licks herself some more, then goes back to sleep.

    She’d be a better president than Rubio.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    If Hillary gets the nom, “guard the change, don’t change the guard” would be a cool campaign slogan.

  10. 10
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I am both frustrated at how little in the way of progressive reforms modern American liberalism has really been able to offer to the people, and terrified of the immense downside risk of losing the White House to any of the appalling candidates the Republicans have been able to conjure up, or, for that matter, of electing a Democrat who turns out to be completely ineffective.

    These feelings provide amazingly little guidance as to how to vote in the primary. I’ve been leaning toward supporting Bernie Sanders for a while, but now that he’s actually got a significant base of support, he needs to be more serious about explaining how he’d govern in the current version of reality than he has been so far.

    Online Sanders supporters used to be far more obnoxious than online Clinton supporters, but now that the race is heating up, it’s more even. Mostly I don’t want the level of bad feelings to get to the point where it seriously hurts the eventual nominee in the general election. Though I know this happens in every contested primary.

  11. 11
    jl says:

    @Baud: That Baud can come up with a good slogan when there is a good candidate to match. I’ll give him that. :)

    Edit: I don’t really mean the smiley face, but I am trying to avoid the Wrath of Baud.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @jl: Too late.

  13. 13
    Johnnybuck says:

    Bernie seems to be winning my Facebook primary going away, although people are starting to push back a little more as the primary season approaches. I’ve never felt the Bern personally, just too much of a one trick charlie in a very complex world.

    Hillary has her issues, but she’s by far the most qualified candidate in either party. Frankly, I think that counts for a lot more this year than at any other time in my life.

  14. 14
    Betty Cracker says:

    @FarmerG: There’s definitely demand or Sanders wouldn’t be surging in Iowa and New Hampshire and inspiring big crowds all over the place. The Obama years have been a definite improvement, but conditions are still appalling on a number of fronts, particularly wealth inequality,and Sanders speaks to that and eloquently. I’m just not sure there’s enough demand to put him over the top. We’ll know soon enough.

  15. 15
    Gimlet says:

    @Ridnik Chrome:

    Mr. Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs. Clinton is the heir to President Obama.

    This implies that Obama was something other than a centrist when he campaigned, but became a centrist during his Presidency.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @Gimlet:

    From what I can tell, there are definitely people who thought candidate Obama was vastly different from President Obama and were overly disappointed as a result.

  17. 17
    jl says:

    @japa21: I think Krugman dinged Obama for not being progressive enough on matters of practical significance. As an example, Krugman criticized Obama for campaigning against a mandate in health care reform, and Krugman (correctly in my view) said that any productive health care reform needed to include a mandate. IIRC, in 2008 Krugman preferred HRC’s proposals in general as being both more realistic and feasible economically, and more progressive, which he thought was a win-win.

    Krugman has climbed down a little from his previous criticisms of Sanders’ health care single payer talking points pretending to be a plan. His first comments implicitly accused Sanders’ health care proposals as having Paul Ryan magic asterisks (which in Ryan’s case, means unspecified means of accomplishing the economically impossible). Sanders’ magic asterisks in his health cae reform seem to me to more stand for the economically very possible, but politically impossible in the near future and at one go. So, I think the evaluation Krugman gave today in his blog and column are more accurate..

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    Were Sanders to get the nom the immediate benefit would be the two Bernies–Sanders plus Larry David–could campaign simultaneously. Trump would be stumped!

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    Momsense FTW.

    This sounds exactly right.

    Plus HRC has an unparalleled level of practice in weathering the storms of questioning and debating. She has the weight of history to deal with (Bill), but also the experience to keep her from tanking in a debate like Obama did in the first one against Romney.

    She will wipe the fucking floor with whatever GOP dumbass wins the Pawn Stars contest.

  20. 20
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    Well you want people to work hard and “fight” for their candidate of choice. But we’ve had the luxury of President Obama and watching his learning curve about what and how things can change with overwhelming opposition. Both Sanders or Clinton will have as much or even more opposition so having a candidate who at least seems to understand that is important.
    In my own case I’m partial to Clinton because I feel like Sanders is an old man yelling at the world about his last chance to make a difference. (and I have some idea about how that feels) Now the truth is both of them are not spring chickens but Clinton seems to be the more practical of the two. By quite a bit in my thinking. I like that in a person looking to be the head of making this place actually a country rather than being the lead patient in a mental health institution, which is every one of the gop candidates.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @Baud: Fuck em.

  22. 22
    Randy P says:

    @redshirt: I want more than that. I want the Republican party to completely implode to the point where gerrymandered districts don’t stuff Congress with people who would have been institutionalized pre-Reagan. I want them to stop existing as a national party. I want a government where everybody at least pretends to want to govern.

  23. 23
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @redshirt: I agree with you but I can already see the sharpened knives that would come out against a Democratic Socialist in the general election. Senator Sanders would have a hard time explaining to the majority of the American people the difference between his brand of democratic socialism (the kind practiced in many European countries and Canada) versus socialism (the kind practiced by the former Soviet Union). I don’t see him being able to do that in a few months.

    I’m hoping that Secretary Clinton will win because she’s already used to being a Republican target and their attacks against her have already been aired and deflated. There is nothing new they can say about her that has any staying power.

  24. 24
    Boatboy_srq says:

    The biggest problem seems to be that real change – even from what BHO has accomplished – is desirable; however, proposing change to a rational Congress is one thing and proposing change to a Congress led by the b#tsh!t-crazy Teahad quite another. BHO faced ridiculous levels of opposition: imagine what Sanders’ agenda would face from that quarter, and while TABMITWH would not be a factor, the resentment and knee-jerk resistance remains.

  25. 25
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Gimlet: I interpreted that to mean that Obama was the revolutionary candidate, but not in the same sense as Sanders is today, i.e., a lefty. With Obama, the “revolution” was about breaking down partisan divides (didn’t happen) and a slightly left of center, technocratic approach to government after a protracted period of conservative ascendancy (did happen).

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @raven: We’ll sell them out!

    @Randy P: That opportunity was in 2010. They were resurrected instead.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    I know that I’m worried about the prospect of a Democrat running on all the things Obama did wrong rather than running on extending Obama’s achievements. If you have both the Democrat and the Republican running on a platform of “Obama Sucks, We Have To Change Everything,” you’re going to get a lot of people voting for the Republican.

  28. 28
    Fair Economist says:

    @Gimlet:

    This implies that Obama was something other than a centrist when he campaigned, but became a centrist during his Presidency

    You need to distinguish Candidate Obama, President Obama, and Barack Obama. I don’t think Barack himself has changed all that much. But he had to say certain things to get elected, and once elected he could only get certain things done. We are all heavily constrained by the circumstances in which we operate, even Presidents.

  29. 29
    AnonPhenom says:

    A former mayor, congressman and sitting senator. A man with who’s name in connected to 200 plus bills passed.
    Yeah he’s all talk.
    Wouldn’t know nothing about the real work of governing

  30. 30
    Gimlet says:

    @Baud:

    I think they hoped he was more the flaming liberal Republicans portrayed him as. He did little to dissuade that, but there were indications of what was to come when he favored immunity to the telecommunications companies, said his idol was RR, wanted Judd Gregg for his cabinet, and picked Rick Warren to give the invocation at his 2008 inauguration.

    This was near or before Day 1 of his Presidency suggesting the change did not occur after.

  31. 31

    Comment numbers are AWOL

  32. 32
    DanF says:

    A more pragmatic Obama would have gotten even more crap through congress in the first two years rather than spending time dickering with Republican fee-fees. He really thought he could transcend the political fray at that time and it was frustrating. Although points for trying to walk the walk. I was/am an Obama fan and voted for him twice, but I honestly believe HRC would have gotten more policy victories in her first term than the O-man as she would have started with no-fucks-to-give on day one.

    Still not sure who I’m pulling for in this cycle, but my state votes so late in the game, it might not matter.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    @Randy P:
    I want a government where everybody at least pretends to want to govern.
    Is hiding under the pretense better or worse that being out in the open?
    I’d go for hiding is worse, you get the same results but it can take a lot longer to figure out how and why. In the open you know who you have to defeat. Of course given the current conservatives you know that anyway, open or pretending. But if you can’t have progress I’d like everyone to understand obviously why. Some will support the why but some will not and that’s better than them supporting the why out of loyalty but with no idea of what they really are supporting.

  34. 34
    catclub says:

    Slightly OT: NR gets a D for effort.

    What NR should have done is simple: Figure out half a dozen of Trump’s weakest points—points that even Trump supporters might find troubling—and assign a writer to dive into each one. Give each one the time to really do some research and produce a tight, fact-checked piece that tears Trump a new asshole. Put them all together and you’d have the definitive anti-Trump manifesto. Something like this would have an impact beyond the mere fact of NR doing it.

    My first would be his narcissism. Only facts he knows are poll results that favor him.

  35. 35
    Gimlet says:

    @BGinCHI:

    She will wipe the fucking floor with whatever GOP dumbass wins the Pawn Stars contest.

    It’s very tough for the same political party to get another candidate in after one of theirs was a two term President.

  36. 36
    Baud says:

    @Gimlet:

    He did try to reach out, for better or worse. But can we put this lie to bed?

    his idol was RR,

  37. 37
    trollhattan says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Under a layer of fresh snow.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gimlet:

    Oh, for fuck’s sake — Obama never, NOT ONCE, said Ronald Reagan was his “idol,” you fucking moron. He said he wanted to transform the way people thought about government, you know, like Reagan did BUT IN THE OPPOSITE FUCKING DIRECTION!!!

    Can this myth finally die out?

  39. 39
    jl says:

    But I do disagree with Krugman on the politics. It is true that presidents like FDR would settle for half a loaf, and would be ready to compromise, sometimes in what today would be considered very ugly compromises, to get something started. But Krugman misses that FDR talked more like Sanders than HRC. I don’t want to get into the great Bully Pulpit debate (and will surely fail), so will leave open the question of whether FDR did effective Bully Pulpit, or did that to keep his support enthusiastic and engaged.

    I think the perfect candidate would be Bernilly Clintors, or maybe Hernie Santon: Someone who talks like Sanders but is willing to make compromises and work on realistic plans like HRC.

    The technology needed to merge HRC and Sanders into one person to produce a better candidate is still imperfect. So we have to hope for the best. Pending the needed R&D, maybe the best we can get would Sanders to continue pushing for his political revolution under an HRC administration to do whatever Bully Pulpit does, with HRC doing the realistic hard bargaining and compromising as president.

    Setting aside political feasibility, I see Sanders as presenting a more unified and sustainable economic rationale for his proposals that HRC, if he realizes that he can only move towards his vision if he is willing to work for incremental change when necessary, and settle for half a loaf. Whether he can do that, or he will just act like a stubborn old crank is an open question, I think.

    I am confident that HRC would push things in the correct direction, but there is the danger of her going for incremental change that may lead to long term dead ends if she does not have an over arching vision that leads to economic programs that are politically and economically sustainable.

    For a specific example, I think Sanders’ family leave proposals aim at a social insurance framework, and that explains aspects like not shying away from taxing middle and working class people to support it. HRC describes more of a welfare framework. To a lesser extent true of their college student finance proposals.

  40. 40
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    @Fair Economist: Well said. I also think that during the campaign Obama was perceived by many as being the Great Liberal Hope, or at the very least as the Liberal Alternative to Clintonian Centrism.

  41. 41
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Duly noted in the site maintenance thread.

    @Gimlet: Obama never “said his idol was RR” — he said he wanted to be as transformational a Democrat as Reagan was as a Republican. Pretty much everyone who wasn’t a PUMA circa 2008 understood what he meant.

  42. 42
    trollhattan says:

    @Gimlet:
    HW managed and was not much of a candidate.

    I frankly don’t find any parallels in my lifetime for the current political climate, or conditions of the parties…okay, one of the parties. Historical data don’t imply much, today.

  43. 43
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @BGinCHI: She will wipe the fucking floor with whatever GOP dumbass wins the Pawn Stars contest.

    I hope you’re right. Somebody on Team Clinton (I nominate Begala, who strikes me as the smartest of the old guard even though Carville and George got all the media love) needs to have a sit-down with the David Brocks and whatever halfwit is putting out the off-the-record word that Bernie loves him some godless red communists

    The dossier, prepared by opponents of Sanders and passed on to the Guardian by a source who would only agree to be identified as “a Democrat”, alleges that Sanders “sympathized with the USSR during the Cold War” because he went on a trip there to visit a twinned city while he was mayor of Burlington.
    Similar “associations with communism” in Cuba are catalogued alongside a list of quotes about countries ranging from China to Nicaragua in a way that supporters regard as bordering on the McCarthyite rather than fairly reflecting his views.

    If I hand’t lived through ’08, I could almost believe this was a rat-fuck by Tad Devine. “could almost”, I don’t believe that.

    @AnonPhenom: “whose name is connected to bills!”…. man, there’s a bumper sticker! How could I ever have been so old and cold and cynical to not recognize the fuel the unstoppable rocket!

  44. 44
    jl says:

    @catclub:

    “assign a writer to dive into each one. Give each one the time to really do some research and produce a tight, fact-checked piece that tears Trump a new asshole. Put them all together ”

    But the NR has how many writers who could do that?

  45. 45
    Baud says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I didn’t click through, but the Guardian should never have published that drivel. That’s NYT-level hack journalism.

  46. 46
    Fair Economist says:

    @Gimlet:

    It’s very tough for the same political party to get another candidate in after one of theirs was a two term President.

    Conventional wisdom, but not really backed up by events. Most of the swings after two terms were VERY close elections: 1960, 1968, and 2000. 1976 and 2008 had extenuating circumstances and you’d have expected the incumbent party to get clobbered. 1988 the incumbent party won. So excluding the cases where the incumbent party was doomed by circumstances (not so now) you have 1 solid win and three very close losses for the incumbent party. This doesn’t look particularly problematic to me.

  47. 47
    Gimlet says:

    @Baud:

    in an interview with the Reno-Gazette editorial board

    I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.

    He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating.

    I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

  48. 48
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @DanF: A more pragmatic Obama would have gotten even more crap through congress in the first two years rather than spending time dickering with Republican fee-fees

    Jesus. This crap again. Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Claire McCaskill, Evan Bayh and Blanche Lincoln weren’t Republicans. And “we” had sixty votes (including those lovelies and a few others) for about sixty days.

  49. 49
    Baud says:

    @Gimlet: And you got “idol” from that?

  50. 50
    Mike J says:

    @catclub: And for everything they could write about Trump, you could find a dozen examples of them praising somebody else for the same thing. nomoremisterniceguy was just pointing out how it seems that they would now prefer someone with experience in government, and they used to be all about CEOs running the country like a company.

  51. 51

    @Betty Cracker: Thanks! Should have checked it before commenting.

    You can’t blame me though, I was distracted by the hotness of Ranveer (Bajirao) and his dance skills. Here with a full head of hair and without the awesome Bajirao mustache.

  52. 52
    Fair Economist says:

    @jl:

    I think the perfect candidate would be Bernilly Clintors, or maybe Hernie Santon: Someone who talks like Sanders but is willing to make compromises and work on realistic plans like HRC.

    Yeah, definitely. I’d be happy with either as president, but I wish Hillary were more inspiring, and I wish Bernie were more realistic.

  53. 53
    JMG says:

    Look, if HRC had voted against the Iraq War as a Senator, SHE’D be near the end of her second term and Senator Obama would be going from diner to diner in Iowa right now. Otherwise, they weren’t that different and it’s silly to pretend otherwise.
    The differences between Sanders and Clinton are larger, but not by that much. They seem to get along quite well. It’s only their more excitable supporters who hate each other — the exact same dynamic of the 2008 primaries, come to think of it.

  54. 54
    catclub says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Hidden under the snow.

  55. 55
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Baud: In fairness, the Guardian piece (blog post) is about how ridiculous the attempted whisper campaign is

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Gimlet says:

    @Fair Economist:

    I said “very tough”, not impossible.
    Just something to keep in mind as the season progresses.

  58. 58
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    the bullshit that the man is just about the talk just won’t float.
    swing and a miss.

  59. 59
    jl says:

    @Gimlet: I don’t see how recognizing that, historical fact, Reagan did change the politics of the US is the same as saying he was an unqualified idol and figure fit for emulation in all ways.

    Reagan was very politically successful, and did establish conservative ideology as the dominant strain in US politics for at least three decades. There is a reason that the GOP has created the Zombie Godhead Reagan myth. And continuing to it to the point that the historical Reagan bears almost no resemblance to the myth. One difference being that Reagan knew when to back off from the most spectacular failures of his conservative ideology, while the current rump and crazy GOP doubles down, and triples down, and quadruples down, and etc.

    I did not like what Obama had to say about Reagan. But I took it as an aspiration on Obama’s part too be as politically successful as Reagan in resetting the default political ideology if the US, albeit from a different part of the spectrum.

  60. 60
    Gimlet says:

    @Baud:

    It’s a matter of interpretation.

    You don’t see it, I think I do.

  61. 61
    Cacti says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I hope you’re right. Somebody on Team Clinton (I nominate Begala, who strikes me as the smartest of the old guard even though Carville and George got all the media love) needs to have a sit-down with the David Brocks and whatever halfwit is putting out the off-the-record word that Bernie loves him some godless red communists

    Do you imagine this issue will go away if Bernie is the nominee?

  62. 62
    singfoom says:

    I feel the Bern. I prefer him to Hillary. I get KThug’s pragmatism here. So I think this all works out in the primary. If HRC wins, I’ll vote for her. I think the larger question of how you achieve a progressive agenda or ANY non-regressive agenda is an open question for both candidates rather than just Bernie.

    That said, while I personally don’t like HRC because I view her as a corporatist, I don’t get any of the anger/malice/enmity between those who support HRC and those who support Bernie. In the end, the goals of each camp are closer together than they are apart.

    That said, I know that a lot of people feel even more viscerally about their perception of HRC as a corporatist. This echoes the “Millennial ladies don’t know how great they’ve got it” thread from a bit back.

    It’s hard to keep voting and not being excited about who you’re pulling the lever for….

  63. 63
    Fair Economist says:

    @Gimlet: My point is that winning after two terms doesn’t even seem “very tough”. It’s more like a 50-50 shot that’s just happened to fall to the challenger 3 times out of 4.

    Also, if you had to pick an analogue in those 4 close elections, the analogue would be 1988 – a decent economy after some serious tribulations, an incumbent party that had just lost the midterms, and no big disasters going on. This is good for us.

  64. 64
    jl says:

    The dispiriting thing about political feasibility, is that until at least one chamber of Congress flips and another gets very close to even, neither HRC nor Sanders has politically feasible proposals.

    If HRC asks for a simplified set of metal policies and a slight and very win-win cost-effective increase in the minimum benefit design, that will be just as dead as Sanders’ single payer.

    So, best would be someone who would be able to rile people up for Sanders rainbows and unicorn land, and if that makes enough impact on the electoral and polling landscape, we might get some HRC micro-wank increments passed. Maybe, just maybe. But even that is not sure bet.

  65. 65
    Gimlet says:

    @jl:

    He did not have to mention Reagan at all, but he did.

    I think of Obama as a “centrist”, even a moderate Republican. In that quote he seems to see along with the Republicans that government is the problem.

  66. 66
    Emma says:

    @Gimlet: Christmas on a Harley. Seriously? You think he’s saying he wants to follow in RR’S footsteps? Or that RR is his idol?

  67. 67
    Botsplainer says:

    The thing I appreciated about candidate Obama was that he was conservatively progressive; as president, he didn’t disappoint. He didn’t present to my ears as a loudmouth bumper sticker platitude spewer, which is how the Bern comes across to me.

  68. 68
    Baud says:

    @Gimlet:

    Our POVs on this aren’t even in the same ballpark.

  69. 69
    chrome agnomen says:

    probably way late to the party here, but i haven’t had any numbers on the posts for the last 10 posts or so. what am i missing? (other than the numbers)

  70. 70
    Brachiator says:

    Pragmatic question: would a President Bernie accept or advocate a repeal of Obamacare and then spend political capital trying to get Medicare for all? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then I would be a lot less interested in seeing him as president than I would Hillary.

    I see improving Obamacare to be a priority, as, for example, the Massachusetts health care program (one of the inspirations for Obamacare) was tweaked in the years after it was implemented).

    A bold declaration to start all over again, especially when a GOP majority Congress would never go along anyway, is blindness, not revolutionary boldness.

    And as I have noted before, I am also need to see more than the “everybody’s got single payer so we should have it too” mantra, especially without more detail.

  71. 71
    Baud says:

    Numbers are still available on the mobile site.

  72. 72
    Baud says:

    @Brachiator:

    Pragmatic question: would a President Bernie accept or advocate a repeal of Obamacare and then spend political capital trying to get Medicare for all?

    I don’t understand. Medicare for All requires Obamacare repeal. They are completely different systems.

  73. 73
    jl says:

    @Gimlet: I tend to agree that is what Obama wanted to be. He might be a moderate Republican by Eisenhower standards. But that is not saying much.

    Now he is a commie by GOP standards and I think a liberal by Bill Clinton standards.

    I don’t see why Obama mentioned Reagan when he could have gone for Teddy Roosevelt, or any of a number of Democratic presidents. I took it as his early naive hope of building bridges with the GOP, which I think now we know was doomed at the outset because Congressional GOP is now assholes and power hungry jerks.

  74. 74
    Heliopause says:

    the answer is obvious: Mr. Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs. Clinton is the heir to President Obama.

    Maybe we should feel sorry for Prof. Krugman rather than angry or disappointed. The demands of producing a regular column in a mainstream outlet can eventually catch up to anyone and utterly meaningless drivel like this becomes unavoidable. He might as well have written that one of them is the Jesus of the Beatitudes and the other is the Jesus of the Crucifixion.

    surely have/had some inkling of what they would face when trying to implement their agendas as president.

    Bernie Sanders has been mayor of a large city. He has been a member of the US House. He has been a member of the US Senate. He has caucused and voted with one of the two mainstream American political parties the vast majority of his career, which has lasted decades. He personally witnesses more political chicanery before breakfast than you and I and Prof. Krugman have put together in our collective lifetimes.

    These campaign narratives that develop just get very stupid sometimes.

  75. 75
    jl says:

    @Brachiator: I think the answer to your first question is No, Sanders would not damage the PPACA in order to gamble on that getting single payer. But he needs to say that explicitly, and he hasn’t. He has only suggested it through his brags about how he wrote parts of the PPACA.

  76. 76
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cacti: I am not a Feeler of the Bern, to put it mildly but this stuff is silly and ineffective. All it can do is feed the martyrdom fantasies of the purity brigade.

  77. 77
    Botsplainer says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Dennis Kucinich could run his mouth, too, but at the end of the day, somebody has to be able to act as a functioning executive and not a disembodied megaphone.

    As I’ve said and feared, the Bern might be able to govern an all white village of flannel wearers in Vermont, but actual leadership requires the ability to build consensus positions, which is where Hillary will do well. Bernie, not so much.

    Plus, he needs to drop that permanent scowl.

  78. 78
    Ruckus says:

    @Emma:
    Some people have to look for any answer to a theory they are trying to prove. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else or even have an ounce of reality to it, they just know it to be true.

  79. 79
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Was your cranky uncle a relic from the 60’s? IMHO, Bernie’s “consistency” is a sign of a bygone era: where coalitions where eschewed and an over-intellectuallized male vision of leftist politics.Women and POC need not apply.

    Oh wait, Bernie is promising “free college”. Hard to feel sanguine.

  80. 80
    jl says:

    @Baud: A bill to establish single payer would replace the PPACA. But if the bill for single payer does not pass, then PPACA would be here.

    I don’t think Sanders is going to pull GOP BS and repeal PPACA with no replacement. That would be a disaster. But Sanders needs to explain his plain in more detail.

    A more relevant question in my mind is the fate of US health care if a Sanders single payer plan causes significant disruption, and strong political opposition develops. A nightmare scenario would be that PPACA is replaced by single payer, single payer runs into real trouble in implementation, and GOP and/or corporate dominated conservadems then can get a crack at repealing single payer in favor of some BS that returns us to status quo before PPACA, which was in terms of population health and federal budget, a slow motion disaster of the first magnitude.

    Sanders needs to be much clearer on how he plans to get from here to there on health care.

  81. 81
    hueyplong says:

    I’ll support whichever candidate gets the nomination because the alternative is unthinkable.

    What I don’t support is a suggestion that the Republicans will fail to turn the demonization meter to anything other than 11 based on which candidate gets the nomination. To think that they’d pull their punches against either Sanders or Clinton seems more naive than Obama thinking he could “work with” Republicans once they were stuck with him in office.

  82. 82
    Baud says:

    @jl:

    I don’t think Sanders is going to pull GOP BS and repeal PPACA with no replacement.

    Nor do I.

    @jl:

    A more relevant question in my mind is the fate of US health care if a Sanders single payer plan causes significant disruption

    How could it not if it’s implemented immediately?

  83. 83
    Matt McIrvin says:

    What I’d like is another Obama term: Obama’s learned enough by now that he’d be a far better President in 2017-2021 than he was in 2009 or 2010, and for all the grumbling I did, he was far better than the average then.

    But that’s not happening.

  84. 84
    misterpuff says:

    @Gimlet: Bill Clinton did change the trajectory of American Politics (maybe not as much as Reagan, who made it acceptable to be a Repug again after the 5 o’clock shadow of Nixon). Bubba made it acceptable to be a New Democrat, which became cover for Blue Dogs to gut Progressives.
    Bernie is may be the Son of Candidate Obama, but Candidate Obama made me proud to be a Dem and a Progressive and the Return of the Progressives to the political conversation will be one of the great consequences of the Obama years, plus it is forcing Hillary to address a segment of the voters she and Rahm Emmanuel would like to ignore as she tries to triangulate and sweep up the rural undereducated white guys.

  85. 85
    AxelFoley says:

    @Gimlet: You’re still a fuckwit, I see.

  86. 86
    Baud says:

    @jl:

    I’d also like to know why Sanders thinks health care reform is the centerpiece of his plan to end political corruption and reduce economic inequality. And it it’s not that, why has that been his focus lately?

  87. 87
    trollhattan says:

    Canada may want to start on that southern border wall, they’re catching one of our main ailments.

    Multiple victims are being reported wounded following a school shooting in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche.

    A student in La Loche said there were multiple shootings at the community school this afternoon, and a nurse at the local health centre confirmed to CBC News there are patients suffering from gunshot wounds.

    Chief Teddy Clark of the Clearwater River Dene Nation, speaking from Saskatoon, told CBC News he has heard there were fatalities.

    “I ran outside the school,” Noel Desjarlais, a Grade 10 student at the school, told CBC News. “There was lots of screaming, there was about six, seven shots before I got outside. I believe there was more shots by the time I did get out.”

  88. 88

    @pamelabrown53: It was my professor not my uncle. I would guess he is probably the same age as Bernie.

    My husband kitteh’s uncle was radical leftist in the 70s now he has become a right wing loon, my uncle on the other hand is neither cranky nor crazy. Thanks ceiling cat.

  89. 89
    Botsplainer says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    Mayor of 85 whiter than white people in a culturally homogenous and prosperous middle class environment is not a mark of great achievement. Smells like the eternal mediocrity of 20th century white male America, where we pat ourselves on our backs at fraternity and lodge meetings, in Boy Scout troops and church organizations.

  90. 90
    Rob says:

    The problem for me is not what Sanders can or can’t do; it’s what HRC will or won’t do. I just don’t trust her to safeguard anything President Obama accomplished, let alone implement any meaningful, helpful measures on her own, incremental or otherwise. If she gets the nod, I’m sitting it out. I’m sick of voting for republicans in democratic clothing cause I’m scared the other party is even worse. Tea Partiers never settle; I believe that’s a big reason for their disproportionate influence. We need to grab a pahe or two from their playbook.

  91. 91
    AxelFoley says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Thank you. I’m tired of assholes on the left spewing that bullshit about Obama having 60 votes so he should’ve gotten more shit done.

    This is why I hate the emo left as much as, if not more than, the wingnut right.

  92. 92
    jl says:

    @Baud: I may have given the impression to poor Baud, that I am Sanders kindly grandmother who can answer all questions about Bernie.

    I am not and my sincere apologies for giving that wrong impression.

    I wrote the old coot and told him what to do. I dunno why he don’t listen to me.
    Maybe I should write him and tell him to return my 300 bucks. Being a Sanders mega-donor sure don’t get you shit.

    And, shouldn’t you be out campaigning?

    Edit: Vote Baud! As inspiring as Jeb and as hard working as Marco!

  93. 93
    Baud says:

    @Rob:

    Tea Partiers never settle; I believe that’s a big reason for their disproportionate influence.

    No, it’s because they know how to win both primaries and general elections and they vote to prevent any Democrat from winning. You want their results without making the same commitment.

  94. 94

    @Rob: Let me guess, you voted for Nader in 2000.

  95. 95
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Tea Partiers never settle; I believe that’s a big reason for their disproportionate influence. We need to grab a pahe or two from their playbook.

    that much I agree with, but that page says “vote in every election, from dog catcher up, for thirty years”, not “start at the top and give up when it fails”

  96. 96
    blueskies says:

    @japa21:

    There are still many on the left, including some here, that haven’t learned that lesson yet.

    There are still many on the left, including some here, that haven’t learned the lesson that you aim for your goals and let reality force you away from them if needs be. Do not compromise before you engage the wider world. You’ll just end up further from your goals than needs be.

    The many on the “left” who haven’t learned this simply reality are frustrating to those of us who actually know how to get things done, and indeed, have been doing them.

  97. 97
    Keith G says:

    When I read Krug’s column this morning, I was in full agreement.

    I noted that he made a good case without disparaging Senator Sanders or his followers – something that might be tried by some here.

    The polls say 80-87% of Dems depending on demographics approve of the job the president is doing and think we are going in the right direction

    That’s good for what it is, but recall that Dems make up about 46% of the electorate. So another way to put this is that the Dems who approve of the job the president is doing and think we are going in the right direction make up about 38% of the current electorate…give or take.

    That difference is probably where Bernie gets some support. There is a space of almost 20%, the area between those experiencing Barak bliss and the 42% of the electorate who identify with the GOP.

    That space is not large enough for Sanders to win unless HRC runs a crappier campaign than she already is.

  98. 98
    jl says:

    I read that Palin is blaming Obama for her loss in 2008, like that was sneaky underhanded trick and unfair somehow.

    I guess that is why Baud is being dilatory about his next campaign move. He can’t figure out how to top that, nonsense-wise.

    Let’s get cracking, Baud.

  99. 99
    Fair Economist says:

    @Rob:

    If she gets the nod, I’m sitting it out. I’m sick of voting for republicans in democratic clothing cause I’m scared the other party is even worse.

    Hillary wants to substantially raise the minimum wage, close the (massive) Romney tax loophole, encourage worker ownership of corporations, reign in crooked and racist cops, legalize medical marijuana, and end gender inequality. In what world would any current Republican presidential candidate support ANY of these? How many of these did even Eisenhower work for? In what world would this not be a fantastic improvement over our current situation?

  100. 100
    Baud says:

    @jl:

    And, shouldn’t you be out campaigning?

    Did you miss my comment about destructive self-indulgence?

  101. 101
    ksmiami says:

    Bernie Sanders is a luxury candidate – Too risky for anyone who isn’t white, male or rich. In the horrifying case where he gets the nomination, he would lose 50 states and set back liberalism for decades or forever – The Democratic party would not recover and millions of innocent people would look forward to a bleaker existence. He is a cranky, old and myopic candidate.

  102. 102
    DK says:

    Shame on Bernie Sanders for smearing Planned Parenthood and gay rights groups or endorsing Hillary. Just disgustng. Just one more reason voters are waking up: today’s new Loras poll has Hillary trouncing Sanders by 29-points in Iowa. Today’s new Emerson Iowa poll has Hillary up by 9-points. Yesterday’s Monmouth Iowa poll also had Hillary up 9-points. Of course, these polls are ignored by the corporate media. But the pressed hyped yesterday’s CNN Iowa poll showing Sanders up, hmmm. And even that poll had Hillary leading by 8-points with Iowans who were most likely to vote.

    So media can spin their dihonest anti-Hillary narrative all they want. Voters aren’t falling for it. Sanders voted against immigration reform in 2007, voted to protect the corporate gun lobby multiple times, and voted to protect big banks and deregulate Wall Street in 200. Hillary did not. And Sanders’ health care plan is so dishonest about its costs to the middle class that even liberal economists are slammng it.

    Sanders is a complete phony.

  103. 103
    debbie says:

    @Fair Economist:

    I wish Hillary were more inspiring

    I have to say, I’m disappointed by her recent statements disparaging the hope and high ideals of Sanders. Promoting herself as the “practical” candidate who will focus just on the things she knows she can get through Congress is such a letdown. Is that the real lesson of Obama?

  104. 104
    MomSense says:

    Woah, front paged with Krugman and especially Betty Cracker.

    There have been some comments about President Obama talking about working with Republicans as being foolish. Obama and the Dems passes a helluva lot of good legislation that first term but it also served to draw out the Republican crazy while preserving his image as reasonable. Smartypants, AKA Nancy Letourneau wrote a great series of articles on his use of conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy at her immasmartypants blog. She updated the idea for Washington Monthly over the summer and calls it “The Obama Method”. Worth a read for another perspective.

  105. 105
    geg6 says:

    @Rob:

    White male, right?

  106. 106
    David *Born in the USA* Koch says:

    What disappoints me about Paul’s column is how he overlooks the Baud phenomenon.

  107. 107
    blueskies says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I agree with you but I can already see the sharpened knives that would come out against a Democratic Socialist in the general election.

    I’m sure you’re not implying that there aren’t already container ship loads of sharpened knives that would come out against Hillary. AFAIK, they’ve never been sheathed since Clinton I.

    Regardless, I don’t see much percentage in basing any level of primary decision-making on who will get screamed at by the Right for what. The Dem nominee will have the howling monkeys out in droves. Whether they’re screeching “WAA! WAA!” or “WOO! WOO!” makes absolutely no difference.

    Happily for me, I really like both Bernie and Hillary, though for very different reasons. Overall, both have warts, but both have many, many strengths. Either will attempt great, if different, things. Either will falter once or twice.

  108. 108
    Keith G says:

    @Betty Cracker: It seems to me that the characterization used was “admired” and not “idolized”.

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    That Communist story kind of seems like it was supposed to be “look at all this stuff and imagine what the Republicans will make of it,” I.e. the Claire McCaskill comments earlier this week, not “look at all these Communists and doesn’t that make you frightened?”

  110. 110
    chopper says:

    But as Mr. Obama himself found out as soon as he took office, transformational rhetoric isn’t how change happens.

    i don’t think he ‘found this out’. i think he knew it before, but hey, transformational rhetoric can get a lot of people off their asses and to the voting booth.

    if obama really thought rhetoric would ‘make change happen’ and then found out he had to get down and play some serious ball instead, then he must have had some serious hidden super fucking ninja skills that he didn’t know about. the shit he got done under the conditions in which he had to perform is pretty insane.

    i don’t think he just up and switched gears and made that kind of performance happen. you don’t just pick up a basketball and start posterizing the other guy repeatedly.

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    What I’d like is another Obama term: Obama’s learned enough by now that he’d be a far better President in 2017-2021 than he was in 2009 or 2010, and for all the grumbling I did, he was far better than the average then.

    The question is whether the Democrats, and the two Democratic contenders have learned from this.

    I think it obvious that the GOP, led by Paul Ryan, will play obstruction games if the Democrats win the White House again.

    So, I would love the new president say, “here are my cabinet nominees, her are my judicial appointments, here are my foreign service appointments, here is my tax plan. Deal with it, now. Vote on it now. I am open to compromise, but compromise based on my plan.”

    I would also expect the Democrats to have some kind of strategy in place to make Congressional gains at the mid term elections.

    The difference here with respect to Obama is that he kept waiting for the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress to come together and deliver compromise legislation to him. The GOP refused and he was forced to deal with a patchwork of items left over from the Bill Clinton and George Bush administrations. A new Democratic Party president has to avoid these political roadblocks.

  112. 112
    Baud says:

    @David *Born in the USA* Koch:

    I should steal the Veep slogan: Continuity with Change.

    Krugman would love it.

  113. 113
    gene108 says:

    The only real way to bring about the great liberal revolution is to convince some of the folks is Republican areas that liberalism will be better for them.

    The problem is Movement Consevatism has been sold to many Republicans, through their churches.

    Reagan’s genius move was to give these Fundie churches a seat at the Republican table.

    So now the clergy are pushing their congregations to vote Republican. Republicans then become the Party of God,

    I am not sure how to shake people out of this grip that religion and politics has on their beliefs, but until this changes there will be no liberal revolution.

    The liberal revolution needs the votes of rural areas to succeed, as the Federal government is geared, by design, to give disproportionate representation to rural areas. And this means somehow undoing the work that has happened over the last 40 years that has fused their churches to hip, and now brain, of the Republican Party.

  114. 114
    jl says:

    @Baud:

    ” Did you miss my comment about destructive self-indulgence? ”

    Oh, for Baud’s sake. I give up. I just give up.

    The BJ community is going to go Koch on Walker with you; buy you a 1980s-ponstache-of-the-month club subscription to salve your hurt feelings, and order to you go home. Out of mercy.

  115. 115
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betty Cracker: Not to upset any partisans, but the polling is being finagled a bit. The polls/models showing Senator Sanders and Donald Trump running away in Iowa and New Hampshire have looser electoral turnout assumptions. For instance, in Iowa they’re assuming almost 2/3 more turnout for the caucuses next month than occurred in 2012. The polls/models that show Secretary Clinton and Senator Cruz ahead are much, much closer to the turnout numbers from 2012.

  116. 116
    MomSense says:

    @DanF:

    A more pragmatic Obama would have gotten even more crap through congress in the first two years rather than spending time dickering with Republican fee-fees.

    Obama had a 96% legislative success rate his first two years in office, surpassing the record previously held by LBJ.

  117. 117
    David *Born in the USA* Koch says:

  118. 118
    Cacti says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I am not a Feeler of the Bern, to put it mildly but this stuff is silly and ineffective. All it can do is feed the martyrdom fantasies of the purity brigade.

    (shrugs)

    As if anything will change that.

    One curious aspect of Bernie Sanders internet fandom that I’ve seen is the tendency to go berserk when you point out that BS has proudly called himself a Socialist for years, and that the GOP would tie that around his neck like an anchor the second he became the Dem nominee.

    If anything, I’d say it gives him some good practice on explaining why he’s the cuddly Nordic type of Socialist, rather than the jackbooted totalitarian kind that pops into most Americans’ heads when they hear the word.

  119. 119
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Botsplainer:
    Maybe.
    Then attack him for that.
    But making shit up and tossing it around, just to see if any of it will stick?
    Now THAT’S Republican, baby!

  120. 120
    Keith G says:

    @DK:

    Shame on Bernie Sanders for smearing Planned Parenthood and gay rights groups or endorsing Hillary. Just disgustng. Just one more reason voters are waking up:

    Let’s just stop this right now.

    Bernie did not smear them.

    That is just not true. When I was listening to the interview in real time, the topic was about those constituent groups that make up the Democratic Party and why those specific groups were endorsing HRC.

    When Sanders used the word establishment, I took it to mean the Party establishment, and he was/is right. The Establishment of the Democratic Party have deep ties to Hillary and they will have her back.

    In footie/soccer terms, HRC then took a big flop, saying in so many words, “Oh! How dare he say this so very insulting thing……”

    Well, it beats talking about affordable housing.

  121. 121
    gene108 says:

    Hare to break it to you but American Presidents NEVER LEAD REVOLUTIONS!!!

    They champion causes the little people have been bitching about for decades, when the little people finally whine loud enough for the Very Serious People to notice.

    Abolitionists had spent decades trying to end slavery, before Lincoln came along.

    The Labor movement spent decades demanding change before FDR came along.

    The Civil Rights movement spent decades working on change before LBJ came along.

    The wealthy business interests and the Fundie racists spent a couple of decades looking for someone to champion their cause and the Reagan came along.

    If the Bernie folks want change, they need to work at it, so politicians have to take notice of their demands.

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @MomSense: plus the people he was dickering with were… Senate Dems on the right hand side of the caucus.

  123. 123
    Botsplainer says:

    @Keith G:

    Easy when you’re a privileged white dude.

    I’m one, and my kind has been crapping things up for decades.

  124. 124
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Rob: Tea partiers are morons. It is unwise to emulate morons.

  125. 125
    Brachiator says:

    @Baud:

    I don’t understand. Medicare for All requires Obamacare repeal. They are completely different systems.

    The question is would Sanders sign into law one of the inevitable Republican bills to repeal Obamacare, or would he keep Obamacare until he came up with a new Medicare for all proposal.

    Would he stop any effort to improve Obamacare and focus solely on his new plan?

  126. 126
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Cacti:
    And though he never called himself one, that never stopped the Right from calling Obama a socialist, a communist and worse.
    Anybody think Hillary won’t get called that?
    Anybody think it will cost B.S. any more voters than it did B.H.O.?

  127. 127
    Cacti says:

    @Keith G:

    When Sanders used the word establishment, I took it to mean the Party establishment, and he was/is right.

    When the Berniebots heard the word establishment, many of them took it to mean “enemy of the people’s revolution” and launched vitriolic attacks on PPP and HRC (the org not the politician).

    Almost kinda sorta dogwhistle-ish.

  128. 128
    gene108 says:

    @Rob:

    TEA Party types vote. They vote for school boards and state legislatures in off-off year elections, Congress in off-year elections and for President every four years.

    That is why they have so much influence.

  129. 129
    pea says:

    in 1990, bill clinton was the “hope & change” president…
    there is, apparently, a “book of secrets” newly inaugurated presidents are shown, delineating the parameters of what they can do before they’re impeached or assassinated.
    very broad for republicans.
    very narrow for democrats.

  130. 130
    MomSense says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Just like FDR had to in order to get social security through the senate.

  131. 131
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Keith G:
    It a very lame attempt at trying to start a half-assed meme. I wouldn’t sweat it.
    I’m currently using that line as a way of telling if I can have an honest conversation with a fellow Democrat. If they spew that shit, I know they’re so far in the tank that talking to them is a waste of time.

  132. 132
    Cacti says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    Anybody think it will cost B.S. any more voters than it did B.H.O.?

    Yep.

    And it will start with about 1,000 PAC-funded ads, with Bernie’s face superimposed over a sickle and hammer, with quotes like:

    “I personally happen not to be a great believer in the free enterprise system for many reasons.”

  133. 133
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’d be interested in hearing what K-thug thinks of HRC’s $33,000 per plate fundraiser the night before the Iowa primary.

  134. 134
    ruemara says:

    No offense, but with a 30 year history in politics, I don’t think there’s much that was transformational about Sanders’ time. He just evolved on gay marriage, for instance.

  135. 135
    gene108 says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    Yes, the socialist / communist tag will stick to Bernie more than Obama.

    Bernie calls himself a socialist.

    Right-wing howls will just reinforce it.

    Most folks work for for-profit corporations. Profits are good things. They are not looking to gut capitalism and impose socialism. When the Big Evil Corp makes profits, they just want a more equal distribution of those profits for themselves and not have all of it go to the CEO. That’s how a lot folks want to end income inequality.

    They do not want those profits, the result of their hard work, to go to every loser in the country.

  136. 136
    Keith G says:

    @Cacti: Oh I missed that. What was the nature of those attacks?

    @Botsplainer:

    Easy when you’re a privileged white dude.

    Sanders? Now, I guess he is, though his privilege was much less existent in his early years. (ed. His current privilege can’t add up to HRC’s)

    But why bring it up?

    Talk about what his commitments are. What he has fought for and what his says he will do and how that squares with your views.

    I like the man and the politician, even though I do not see any probable occurrence that would lead me to vote for him in March.

  137. 137
    Cacti says:

    @gene108:

    Yes, the socialist / communist tag will stick to Bernie more than Obama.

    This.

    Your average Dem pol isn’t a socialist, and can answer it briefly with “No, I’m not.”

    Candidate Bernie would get to spend lots of valuable time (that could be spent talking about other things), telling low information voters why he is a socialist, but not the bad kind like Lenin or Mao.

  138. 138
    gene108 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I’d be interested in hearing what K-thug thinks of HRC’s $33,000 per plate fundraiser the night before the Iowa primary.

    It raised money.

    Obama has hosted plenty of special events for high rollers to help his campaign and/or to help other Dems or the DNC.

  139. 139
    dogwood says:

    @AnonPhenom:
    Yes, it will cost him more votes than it cost BHO. I understand how many in the party are much more exited about Sanders than Obama. What they fail to realize, however, is that Bernie is in no way as attractive a candidate as Obama. He looks and acts the part of a cranky old socialist. This isn’t going to play as well as his fans think. I’ve never really seen myself as a typical mainstream American when it comes to politics. However, I never let myself be deluded into thinking my views and preferences were necessarily electoral winners.

  140. 140
    Cacti says:

    @Keith G:

    Oh I missed that. What was the nature of those attacks?

    A Twitter rage-gasm.

  141. 141
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I have serious doubts about Bernie Sanders winning a general election and I can’t imagine a scenario where I won’t vote for the eventual Democratic nominee but do you people remember all the shit you talked about HRC in 2008? Am I to believe you then or now?

  142. 142
    gene108 says:

    @Cacti:

    Candidate Bernie would get to spend lots of valuable time (that could be spent talking about other things), telling low information voters why he is a socialist, but not the bad kind like Lenin or Mao.

    Candidate Bernie’s healthcare plan is on the record as stating it will wipe out the private health insurance industry and turn all those jobs over to government bureaucrats.

    I think that is enough to get the label to stick.

  143. 143
    Keith G says:

    @Cacti: Please fucking leave twitter out of it.

    There is no way to tell anything about the standing of the person typing. Plus it is my general assumption that there is an inverse relationship to twitter use and emotional IQ. Unless it is being used as professional outreach/marketing….and even then….

  144. 144
    Keith G says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Right? The PUMA wars and Hillary/Bill as racists tirades were so much fun.

  145. 145
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Looks like Balloon-Juice is at Defcon 5.

    Funny! And pathetic.

  146. 146
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Cacti:
    @gene108:
    @dogwood:
    No way that causes people who voted for a black man not to vote for an old white guy.
    Look, I’m leaning toward Hillary at the moment, for strategic reasons.
    I think this election cycle has the real possibility of ending with a permanent split in the Right’s coalition. Working class white Evangelicals and nativists will walk away from the Republican party.
    One of the few things I can see making them stay would be a Democratic party liberal enough to scare the shit out of them. That’s a Sanders’ administration.
    A Clinton administration would not scare the RWNJs enough, and once they left the Republicans to start their own party there’d be no turning back for those folks.
    Hillary would be a vote for delayed gratification on my part. I’m 60. I don’t want to delay that much, but I really hate the fucking Republicans.
    The only thing I hate almost as much, is a dishonest argument.

  147. 147
    Keith G says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Oh no. You didn’t

  148. 148
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Believe me now and hear me later. In spite of some stupid shit from her and (far more so) her supporters, (though nothing nearly as bad as what we saw last time). I think Hillary Clinton is the strongest candidate for what i think will be a close general election. Show me a stronger candidate and I’ll live up to your demands for a foolish consistency.

  149. 149
    magurakurin says:

    @ruemara:

    I don’t think there’s much that was transformational about Sanders’ time.

    Exactly. He’s just not all that. I mean, fuck, most of the people fawning over the guy now didn’t even know who the fuck he was in January of last year. Whatever. Hopefully, he loses Iowa and things settle down a bit. Nobody will care about a win in New Hampshire. That will only matter if Sanders loses New Hampshire. His roadmap is very, very grim after NH with such low levels of support outside of his base, which has been described as “Portlandia.”

    It is increasingly looking like “feelin the Bern” is an almost exclusively white thing. Subject to change of course. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Nate Silver said he’d take a 20 to 1 bet on Sanders right now, but I’m not sure I’d take even that.

  150. 150
    Linnaeus says:

    Honestly, I’d be happy with either Sanders or Clinton as the Democratic nominee. I like a good bit of Sanders’s vision, but I don’t think he’ll win the nomination.

  151. 151
    Cacti says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    No way that causes people who voted for a black man not to vote for an old white guy.

    Check out the June 2015 Gallup poll on the number of people who say they wouldn’t vote for a black man or woman, vs. number who wouldn’t vote for a Socialist of any category.

    Socialist drew more kneejerk dislike than Gay, Muslim, or even Atheist. We are not far enough removed from the Cold War that owning the label Socialist wouldn’t be a very serious problem in a national election.

  152. 152
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Keith G: I welcome their hatred. It makes me feel alive.

  153. 153
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    There is pull for change. Lots of it. The evidence is that Bernie pulls big crowds. I haven’t heard of any large masses for Hillary; the only think that came up in a Google search was her kickoff at Roosevelt Island in NYC. She pulled a crowd of 5,500 from a city with a population of nearly 9 million people (0.06%). Bernie’s rally in Portland drew 28,000 from a city of 620,000 (4.52%) Sure, that’s Portland, Oregon, arguably the most radically liberal city in the USA; but NYC is Hillary’s home turf.

    The other data point is that Sanders is surging despite having little to no press coverage over the year. I’m not one to think that is a conspiracy; the implosion of the Republican party has been far more entertaining than dry talk of income inequality. But I am one to think that his surge is an organic, grass-roots phenomena. So yeah, there is pull.

    The more interesting question is why.

    The current meme being pushed from the Clinton camp is that Bernie will never be able to get his ideas implemented given the state of the Republican Party. I don’t see how this works for her.

    The problem isn’t that Bernie’s policies are not worthy of debate. They are. The problem is that the Republican House is clinically insane (paranoid with frequent bi-polar episodes) and the Senate isn’t much better. The Senator from Texas running second in the Republican Primary is hated because he’s a murder/suicide waiting to happen. Rubio isn’t much better; both have essentially promised to go to war with Iran on day one over the nuke deal.

    So for some of us political junkies out here in living room land, munching popcorn while surfing the internet, when the Hillary camp says “Bernie won’t be able to get his ideas through” our immediate thought is, “and Hillary will?!?” We’ve seen what Congress did to our guy Obama over the last 7 years. We know that the only person the Republican base hates more than Hillary Clinton is her husband Bill. My gun-loving conservative friends hate her more than they hate B. Hussain Obama. Hillary’s agenda is DOA too.

    The fear I have is that Hillary is set to make the same mistakes Barak made in his first few years in office. Both are brilliant lawyers. Both are masters of a world where laying out all the details with logically compelling arguments wins the day. Unfortunately, the current congress is a lot closer to a wood chipper than it is a serious legal body. Every one of Barak’s proposals was loudly reduced to confetti in seconds.

    So I reject the idea that Hillary would be more effective than Bernie. Obama has learned that this Congress is not a serious, or even rational, partner in drafting legislation. Hillary’s approach – propose only small, incremental changes – sounds to me like a losing strategy. It’s like trying to win the World Series by bunting on every play. You can promise the fans that you will dig hard and run out every hit, but it won’t matter. If you don’t even try to score points there will be a big 0 on your side of the scoreboard at the end of the game.

    So if I were putting together a fantasy Democratic team for the 2016 White House, I would pick an unreasonable, cranky, old Jewish idealist from Brooklyn as my negotiation lead. He may start out with wildly unrealistic starting positions, but through pure grit and integrity he’ll hold the line as the negotiations unfold.

    Do I believe that Sanders will get everything he wants? No, I don’t. I’m not stupid. Do I believe that Sanders will drive a harder bargain and get a better deal than Clinton? Absolutely.

  154. 154
    dogwood says:

    @AnonPhenom:
    Well, you might not like my argument, but I’m not being dishonest. And while I think you are off the mark with your assumptions, I wouldn’t call you dishonest.

  155. 155
    magurakurin says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: uh, pretty sure nobody gives a shit enough about what you think to actually “hate” you( or anyone else for that matter.) But, you know, whatever gets you through the night and the love the one you’re with and all.

  156. 156
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Cacti:
    That’s in the abstract.
    We’re talking about a real person, Bernie Sanders.
    That smear won’t work.
    (he had the skull horns sawed off when he ran for the House)

  157. 157
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @magurakurin: I appreciate you taking the time to set me straight.

  158. 158
    AnonPhenom says:

    @dogwood:

    Thanks.
    The dishonest argument I was referring to was the idea that B.S. was just about the talk and that he wouldn’t be as capable at Hillary as governing.
    Sorry, if I wasn’t clear.

  159. 159
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I don’t necessarily disagree with the notion that HRC may be the strongest candidate. I just don’t understand how that requires you to be disingenuous. WTH?

  160. 160
    Brachiator says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway:

    So I reject the idea that Hillary would be more effective than Bernie.

    Fair point. I am not a huge HRC supporter. But I think she has done an admirable job as Secretary of State. I am not sure how she would govern.

    On the other hand, I am not impressed at all by what I have seen of Sanders’ ideas or his priorities. And I am not sure how he would govern. It seems as though he has been content to sit in a small corner as an independent Senator of a small state. This does not convince me at all that he would be any good at driving hard bargains or getting better deals than Clinton.

  161. 161
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Zounds, Tweety just said 43% of Iowa Dems self-ID as socialists? Even if that skews high, 33% would be amazing.

    @Just Some Fuckhead: saying that my support for Clinton is mostly pragmatic is disingenuous?

  162. 162
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Is that what you’ve been saying?

  163. 163
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @Brachiator: He was Mayor of Burlington for 8 years. He earned a lot of respect as an innovator and a consensus builder.

    I respect Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, but I will point out that she was implementing Obama’s policies. She has never run anything from the top. There is no track record of her style of leadership to examine. Even Palin has more to show.

    Also, I have to believe that in Sanders’s 25 years in the Senate give him much deeper roots to draw on than Clinton’s 8. He seems like a Johnson type, a guy more than capable of working the phone one-on-one for effect. That’s apparently how he worked up in Burlington.

    I fear that Hillary will try to litigate everything and fail. It’s what she did with the health care policy while Bill was President.

  164. 164
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    43% in Iowa?
    What does that make NY and Cali?
    Hell, what about Taxxachusetts ?

  165. 165
    Kay says:

    You have to see this picture of Callista Gingrich.

    Okay, now that that’s done- my grown children are divided- 2 for Bernie and 1 for Hillary. IL, PA, OH. My youngest also likes Bernie but he’s 13 so he doesn’t count.

    They’re friendly about it, although the (outnumbered) Hillary supporter is kind of defensive, frankly :)

  166. 166
    dogwood says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway:
    Sanders hasn’t been in the Senate for 25 years.

  167. 167
    gwangung says:

    @Brachiator: I am also not impressed with Sanders’ management of his campaign. His slow response to BLM, the tenuous nature of his response, the actions of his team during the voting list break in, the amateurish work in reaching out to minority groups are troubling to me.

    You may not be bothered by them, but denying that others could be bothered by them is quite foolish.

  168. 168
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Kay:

    You have to see this picture of Callista Gingrich.

    Didn’t know Al Lewis had any kids. Thought he was gay.

  169. 169
    David *Born in the USA* Koch says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway: Burlington was tiny town of 30K It’s homogeneous. It has no crime. It’s deep blue. It leans so far left a skinny black guy with a funny African/mooslim name got 72% of the vote. What’s to build consensus on when everyone agrees.

    You guys make is sound like he was mayor Detroit or Newark during the 1967 race riots.

    There are certainly better points to be made in support of his candidacy, but this one is straight koolaid.

  170. 170
    Kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I couldn’t put my finger on it. Thanks.

    I love that she feels she has to say she’s with Newt Gingrich in their..home.

  171. 171
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: @Kay: I went with the Chicken Lady from Kids in the Hall

  172. 172
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @gwangung: It reminds me of the tone deaf way HRC responded to the racial missteps she kept making in the 2008 primary. (strokes chin somberly for effect)

  173. 173
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Kay:

    I love that she feels she has to say she’s with Newt Gingrich in their..home.

    You never know when Newt’s gonna trade you in for a newer model.

  174. 174
    J R in WV says:

    @Gimlet:

    You are crazier than the loons raiding the bird reserve in Oregon! There is a huge difference between saying Obama wants to make the same quantity of change in political attitudes as Brain-Dead Reagan did, but in Obama’s own direction, and saying that Obama wanted to continue the quality of changes that Reagan made.

    Quantity and Quality are not synonyms at all, and by saying they are, you make an ass of yourself. Which is quite a change, as in the past you have seemed like a normal person with intelligent and logical positions and thoughts.

    Think about it – Government sponsored health care = Ronald Reagan~!! Really? I don’t think so!

    President Obama has done more to undo Reagan’s horror than any other person since G H W Bush left office.

  175. 175
    Brachiator says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway: Fair enough. You give Sanders more of an edge, based on his long ago performance as mayor than I do.

    I would like to see some assessments of his Senate career. But just because he was in longer does not mean that much. How long has McCain been in Congress?

    That said, your conclusions about Sanders are reasonable. Thanks for the response.

  176. 176
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    CEPR’s web site seems to be back up, just in time for Dean Baker to weigh in on Krugman, Bernie, Medicare for All, and drug prices.

    It’s a good read.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  177. 177
    Princess says:

    @Kay: What does she mean “with Newt Gingrich”? Did she kill him and is she cooking him in that pot?

  178. 178
    gwangung says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: That’s fair enough (except for the fact all I have on my chin is stubble too ragged to stroke).

  179. 179
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @gene108: If trends continue, the Glorious Liberal Revolution will probably happen in less than 40 years – by 2055 or so.

    It took about 18 years for “No Religion” to go from 10% to 20% in the latest GSS report on Religious Affilation (12 page .pdf). If that trend continues, the Religious Right’s remaining days are countable.

    Let’s do our part to speed it up a bit, though, eh? :-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  180. 180
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @dogwood: My mistake. 25 years in Congress; House from 1991 to 2007, Senate 2007 to present.

  181. 181
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway:

    My mistake.

    I’m sure it was an oversight driven by righteous pragmatic concerns.

  182. 182
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    s

  183. 183
    Doug R says:

    @Baud: The conciliatory rhetoric WAS a strategy. Smartypants noticed this early. If your opponent says they want to solve your problem, you let them propose. If they got nothing, it shows. The point isn’t really to change your opponent’s mind, it’s to peel off some of their supporters.

  184. 184
    different-church-lady says:

    Mr. Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs. Clinton is the heir to President Obama.

    Unfortunately the process happens in that order.

  185. 185
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @David *Born in the USA* Koch:

    You guys make is sound like he was mayor Detroit or Newark during the 1967 race riots.

    That wasn’t my intention. Not only is it a small city, but it is a small city way up north in YankeeLand where people go to town meetings to help govern. I agree, Sanders has never governed anything major. And, it was a long, long time ago. If I were reading it on a resume I would take note and move on to the much more relevant last 15 years.

    My point was that he spent his formative years working out policies for the benefit of an entire community. That’s what he is, that’s what he does. Hillary spent her formative years in a law firm trying to get the best deal she could get for her clients. That’s what she is, that’s what she does.

    Both have substantial Washington insider experience. I am very impressed with Hillary’s resume, but the fact that Wall Street dropped $3.2M into her personal checking account last year makes me think she’s still a lawyer trying to get the best deal for her clients. I don’t trust her.

  186. 186
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @Brachiator:

    That said, your conclusions about Sanders are reasonable. Thanks for the response.

    You’re welcome.

  187. 187
    WarMunchkin says:

    @Baud:
    @Mnemosyne
    @Emma:
    @Gimlet:

    While I’ve enjoyed watching this inane conversation unfold, I feel like it’s worth directing all y’all to what the subject of this thread said about the matter:

    Maybe Mr. Obama was, as his supporters insist, simply praising Reagan’s political skills. (I think he was trying to curry favor with a conservative editorial board, which did in fact endorse him.)

    (source)

    @DK: Go find the nearest fire.

  188. 188
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rob: Thank you for proving the curved universe theory of two-party politics.

  189. 189
    Marcia says:

    @Rob: Be sure you stay in touch. We want to be able to point and laugh the first time you bitch about Da Gubber Mint.

  190. 190
    different-church-lady says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway: That’s great. Now do Trump’s rally numbers.

  191. 191

    @Ridnik Chrome:
    But if Clinton, the Candidate, is the heir to Obama, the President, what would Clinton, the President, be the heir to?

  192. 192
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    CEPR’s web site seems to be back up, just in time for Dean Baker to weigh in on Krugman, Bernie, Medicare for All, and drug prices.

    It’s a good read.

    That is a very good read. I agree with all of it except this sentence:

    “Getting universal Medicare would require overcoming opposition not only from insurers and drug companies, but doctors and hospital administrators, both of whom are paid at levels two to three times higher than their counterparts in other wealthy countries.”

    Due to my family situation I have long chats with literally dozens of doctors over the last 10 years. Every single one of them hates the current multi-plan health care system. Some are philosophical about it, others got literally spitting mad. Why? Because they went to med school to be doctors and heal people, but their practice demands that they spend 40- 50% of their time on insurance paperwork. And that’s with a staff of 1-2 people per doctor to handle the claim and billing processes.

    I’ve been a fan of single payer ever since I lived in Germany and saw how well it worked, so I always ask, “Would you prefer a single payer system?” I get two responses – “It would be nice but it will never happen,” and “well, of course!” Some would be willing to take a cut in pay for the lifestyle improvement.

    Single payer doesn’t have to mean that the doctors get paid less. Some specialists might see a reduction in pay, but I think the big savings would come from the things Dean Baker lays out in his article. I read another report recently that estimated the annual add-on cost for health care administration at $250-500B per year. That’s huge, and that’s probably enough. We don’t need to ask the doctors to take a cut in pay.

    The downside of eliminating that cost is that it pretty much wipes out the health insurance industry. Some might remain to offer add-on policies, but for the most part the industry would disappear. That’s a huge economic dislocation that needs to happen slowly to avoid creating a depression in Connecticut.

    The people working in that industry wouldn’t get picked up by the single-payer government program because the kinds of things they do – figuring out copays, doing the annual doctor-by-doctor negotiation of the fees for individual services, recruiting doctors for health networks, helping people find doctors within their network, approving/denying out-of-network services, hassling people who haven’t paid their bills, etc. – wouldn’t be done anymore.

    So I doubt the doctors would put up much of a fight. I’m pretty sure some would be eager to help. The hospitals? Perhaps not so much. Hospital administrators would see their billing/collection staff disappear with the health insurance industry. That’s got to cut into profits.

    I’m not convinced that single payer is out of reach. Politically speaking, if you weigh the goodwill of saving a few hundred or thousand dollars for 300+ million people against the cost of re-assigning 300+ thousand people to other jobs it seems like an economic no-brainer. The only thing stopping it is social inertia.

  193. 193
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @different-church-lady:

    That’s great. Now do Trump’s rally numbers.

    You make my point. The will for change is there.

  194. 194
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Lol No, just too lazy to look it up. I thought Clinton said Senate when she was trying to brand Sanders as the establishment candidate the other day.

  195. 195
    different-church-lady says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway: It’s not a will for change — it’s a will for resentment.

  196. 196
    Princess says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway: You are dead wrong about the pay angle. You aren’t going to get the cost saving you get somewhere like Canada unless doctors are earning what doctors earn in Canada. And that is a lot less than in the States. If you think doctors are going to go for a massive pay cut, you are dreaming. It is easy to say you’d like a hypothetical but once real numbers were attached to it, I don’t think you’d find any takers.

    And it isn’t necessary.There are many ways to get to universal healthcare without single payer. We’re at the beginning of trying one right now.

  197. 197
    mclaren says:

    @Fair Economist:

    But he had to say certain things to get elected, and once elected he could only get certain things done. We are all heavily constrained by the circumstances in which we operate, even Presidents.

    Oh, nice try, Mr. Paid Far-Right Astroturfer! The reality of course remains that Barack Obama got things done by breaking through the imaginary “constraints of the circumstances in which we operate” whenever he found it convenient to do so.

    For example, Barack Obama was “constrained by the circumstances in which we operate” such that the president ordering the kidnapping of U.S. citizens without a warrant or a trial is illegal and impossible. Obama of course signed the NDAA into law, which does exactly that. Because Obama thought this was fine ‘n dandy, the “constraints of the circumstances in which we operate” didn’t seem to apply.

    Another example: Barack Obama was “constrained by the circumstances in which we operate” by the War Powers Act such that the president ordering drone murders of civilians in countries with we’re not at war illegal and impossible. Obama of course ignored the law and ignored the constitution and ordered plenty of drone murders in Pakistan and elsewhere. Because Obama thought this was fine ‘n dandy, the “constraints of the circumstances in which we operate” didn’t seem to apply.

    Yet another example: Barack Obama was “constrained by the circumstances in which we operate” by the constitution such that the president cannot order his executive branch to ignore a law passed by congress. Obama of course did exactly that he ordered the IRS not to enforce a section of a Affordable Care Act involving the Cadillac Tax. Because Obama thought this was fine ‘n dandy, and as a pragmatic matter it was necessary in the real world, the “constraints of the circumstances in which we operate” didn’t seem to apply.

    And now the most recent example: Barack Obama is “constrained by the circumstances in which we operate” by the constitution such that the president cannot order his executive branch to shut down Guantamo Bay prison after congress passed a law requiring that it stay open. Obama of course just recently announced he is contemplating executive action to unliterally close Guantanamo Bay prison. “With only one year left in President Obama’s tenure, the White House continues to hint at the possibility that the President may use his executive powers to unilaterally shut down Guantánamo Bay prison without the consent of Congress.” Because Obama believes it’s crucial to shut down Gitmo, the “constraints of the circumstances in which we operate” don’t seem to apply.

    So your claim that President Obama is “constrained by the circumstances in which we operate” is an obvious lie and a crude con job. Shorter version of your crass lie? “President Obama claims to be constrained by the circumstances in which we operate whenever someone calls for a progressive policy, but whenever Obama wants a repressive oligarchic anti-democratic far-right policy, the sky’s the limit and the constitution burns and congress and the rule of law blow right out the window.”

  198. 198
    Monala says:

    @Botsplainer: Yeah. Burlingon, pop. 42,417, 89% white.

  199. 199
    mclaren says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway:

    Single payer doesn’t have to mean that the doctors get paid less.

    Yes it does.

    Look at the salaries of doctors in Europe. They make, on average, about $80,000 per year for general practitioners. The typical general practitioner MD in America makes $230,000.

    Specialists in America make insane amounts of money, unheard-of in Europe. No European neurosurgeon makes 6 million dollars a year.

    And not only do all the doctors in Europe make much less than doctors in America, all the medical procedures in Europe cost much much much less than in America. Take a look at this chart comparing costs — American medical costs are insane. It has nothing to do with paperwork, it’s pure simple greed. An MRI in France costs $250. The exact same MRI in America, exact same machine, costs $1850. A doctor’s visit for a general exam in Canada costs $30. The exact same doctor’s visit for the exact same general exam, blood pressure, pupillary response, reflexes, costs $176 in America.

    We’ll know genuine reform has hit the U.S. health care system when the income of doctors and nurses and medical device salespeople and imaging lab technicians and pathology lab technicians starts to drop. Right now, all these parasites’ salaries are insanely inflated compared to every other civilized country.

    Doctors will balk at a drop in their salaries. This is why the president will eventually have to use executive action to force a drop in the crazy amount of money American doctors get, backed up by federal troops who drag uncooperative doctors off to a boat and forcibly deport them to a free-market paradise like Somalia when they refuse to go along.

  200. 200
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @Princess: Perhaps not. But who says we need to get to Canadian prices for health care? If giving the doctors their usual salaries was part of the compromise for the USA I’d be more than OK with that. For me, simply getting rid of the bizarre and dysfunctional billing system would be enough.

    The hospital sent me a bill once for a trip to the ER and an overnight stay in the pediatric intensive care facility. 24 hours. A room, a bed, and a nurse. I’m pretty good at running programs, so I ran the numbers in my head and got $2400.00, tops, with a 20% profit for the hospital. The bill? $16,200.00.

    I knew someone who worked in the hospital’s billing department. He saw the bill and said, “They should never have sent you that bill. That’s full retail from the Billing Master.”

    He was right. My insurance company paid their negotiated price for those services which was a much more reasonable $2,800.00. When I called about the bill they sent they said, “Our mistake. You should never have seen that bill.”

    So I asked my friend what that was all about. It’s a scam. The hospital gets to write off the “loss” of discounting their official Billing Master rate to the insurance company negotiated rate. In order to keep that legal they have to charge and get paid the Master rate a few times, otherwise the IRS will say it isn’t a real number.

    We were sent that bill because the hospital goofed and thought we didn’t have health insurance. The hospital sends those full-retail bills out to the poor and/or unemployed people who aren’t currently covered to preserve the fiction that they actually charge those rates. If they succeed in getting paid then great, the IRS is convinced. If the patients default on the bill then they get their money back by selling the debt to a debt collectors.

    So basically what we are giving up by moving to single payer is the harassment. I can live with that.

  201. 201
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @AnonPhenom: How is it “dishonest” to hold a legitimate opinion that one candidate will be better at actual governance? I’m genuinely curious about why you think that’s somehow deceptive.

  202. 202
    JustOutsideTheBeltway says:

    @mclaren: I hear you, but as per my last post I am suspicious of our “official costs.” The actual reimbursed rates may be much lower.

    But yes, it’s true that doctors overseas get paid less. They also work less and seem happier.

    It all boils down the the negotiated details. I don’t buy the argument that it has to be like Europe or Canada because it doesn’t. It just has to be better than what we currently have.

  203. 203
    mclaren says:

    @JustOutsideTheBeltway:

    Don’t forget that doctors overseas work less and seem happier for two important reasons. [1] America now has fewer medical schools, turning out fewer doctors, than in 1965. The purpose is simple — to artificially constrict the supply of doctors, the better to insure continued high salaries for doctors. It’s a deliberate policy on the part of the AMA. [2] With a for-profit health care system, you automatically get doctors drowning in paperwork. Why? Because of the procedure code system used by America’s for-profit health care system. Get rid of the for-profit aspects, and you get rid of labyrinthine procedure codes whose real function is to artificially jack up prices.

    [In] 1985…a Harvard economist named William Hsiao developed a scale to measure the relative value of every single one of the thousands of services provided by doctors, a job later compared to measuring “the exact amount of anger in the world.” For example, Hsiao’s team deemed that a hysterectomy required 3.8 times more mental effort and 4.47 times more technical skill than a psychotherapy session. In 1992, Medicare formally adopted Hsiao’s concept; private insurers followed suit. Today, this relative value-based system sets the prices—and therefore drives the priorities of American medicine.

    Here’s how it works. Doctors do a job—like placing a coronary artery stent, reading an EKG, or spending an hour examining and diagnosing a patient with a complex problem like insomnia—and earn something called “relative value units.” In 2009, according to Medicare, the stent guy scores about 24 units for his relatively quick procedure, the EKG person gets 0.5 units for the 10 seconds his job requires, and the poor internist gets only 2.5 units for his hour of time. Figuring a doctor’s total take per task is straightforward: Medicare adds up a doctor’s total RVUs, multiplies the total by a fixed amount (roughly $40 right now), and writes the check.

    It’s clear that Medicare and all major insurers place far more relative value on fancy procedures like stents, EKGs, skin biopsies, CT scans, and bowel clean-outs than they do on actual face-to-face time with patients. Procedures, they have decreed, require more mental effort and skill than seeing actual people. The implications are obvious. Just visit any hospital: The dermatology, radiology, and cardiology centers that depend on high-volume, relatively quick procedures have gleaming new facilities, while the primary care and psychiatry clinics languish, since they earn their keep from poorly compensated face-to-face time with patients. And, obviously, specialists make more money than primary care doctors. (Even trainees grasp this; recently, only a single graduating internist out of a class of 50 residents at Massachusetts General Hospital planned to become a primary care doctor.)

    Fundamentally, the entire payment model of American health care drives medical centers, doctors, and hospital managers to push for more fancy procedures at the expense of primary care doctors.

    Source: “The Fix Is In: The hidden public-private cartel that sets health care prices,” Slate magazine online, 2 September 2009.

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    mclaren says:

    Sanders is selling the promise of a better world. Hillary is trying to convince you she’s the one you have to settle for. — Jeet Heer

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    TriassicSands says:

    In 2008, Krugman was an extremely partisan supporter of Clinton. During the campaign it was worth dismissing much of what he wrote (and said), because it was pretty much designed to push the candidacy of HRC and undermine Obama. It was a sad time, because he showed that Krugman is not simply an objective observer willing to report the facts as they appear. Rather he was willing to twist facts and reality to favor his preferred candidate. I’ve been waiting for the same thing to happen in this campaign, and as long as Sanders was far behind Clinton in polling, it wasn’t necessary for Krugman to cross the line from punditry to advocacy. Apparently, now that Sanders is posing a serious challenge to Clinton, we are once again going to get Krugman the biased advocate.

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    David *Born in the USA* Koch says:

    @TriassicSands: How is he a serious challenge when he’s doing poorly in non homogeneous states?

    Here’s a list of the Super Tuesday states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia

    Aside from Vermont and possibly Minnesota which states will he win?

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    AnonPhenom says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    There’s a sort of mini-dispute among Democrats over who can claim to be Mr. Obama’s true heir — Mr. Sanders or Mrs. Clinton? But the answer is obvious: Mr. Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs. Clinton is the heir to President Obama.

    That’s how you read that?

    a legitimate opinion that one candidate will be better at actual governance?

    Piss Off.

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